garden notes 7/12/20

tiny hot pink flower of Melocactus azureus, one of the many back porch plants
Opening the door and coming down the stairs first thing in the morning, the cool air emanating from the garden envelopes me even before the shapes and colors fill my eyes. The whole house fan sucks in this cool air and brings it into the house after sundown.

Pots line one side of the back porch stairs — the first year I’ve done this. Tripping hazard? Not really, not if you don’t try anything cute like taking a shortcut over the pots. Just follow the stairs straight down. No objections from Marty yet…


Take the ladder up to the lookout and climb over the cushions and cat and magazines to the far eastern end, which has a flat asphalt roof. I’ve discovered this year that this is exactly what I’ve needed for potted rhipsalis.

Slim trunk belongs to a potted Pseudobombax ellipticum, the Shaving Brush Tree, which does provide some mid-day shade for the rhipsalis — poppy seedhead from Sculptura Botanica

I hung the funnel filled with bromeliads and hanging cactus at this end too. There’s a couple full sun moments, so if the angle of the sun doesn’t change soon, there may need to be further adjustments. The terrestrial bromeliad Orthophytum magalhaesii just visible upper left was brieflly subjected to strong sun yesterday. It’s able to tolerate sun, but this much? Uncertain.

Ursulaea tuitensis is another bromeliad sun lover (aka Aechmea tuitensis)
Just opposite the end of the lookout with the hanging rhipsalis, Begonia ‘Red Fred’ is likewise in danger of too much sun — which gives the leaves a luscious ruddiness but occasionally a few singed edges too. Aloe ‘Goliath’ provides some shade but not enough
Tropicals like the vine Solanum wendlandii, the Costa Rican Nightshade, know what to do with July heat
Wish there were yards of flowering oregano like this one ‘Gentle Breeze’
After growing this daisy for many years, this is the best location by far for Anthemis ‘Susannah Mitchell’ — spilling on the bricks and in easy reach to deadhead and pinch for bushiness because it can get straggly. But it does wilt in afternoon sun so still not the optimal spot…
more potted seedlings accumulate, mostly cosmos, some tithonia, cuphea

The title of this photo could be “plants in bondage.” Euphorbia cooperi is taking its turn in the iron sphere. I moved the iron stand with pitcher plants here out of full sun just before temps hit the 90sF. The tips of the pitchers always crisp, but otherwise the plants appear healthy, increasing in size, with a couple flower buds.

plants in cages theme continues underneath
With the iron stand for the pitcher plants moved, there’s an unobstructed view of Agave ‘Dragon Toes’ from the garden office. All that Carex testacea is self-sown. Orange daisies are gerbera in the foreground and Cosmos sulphureus in background. The slim aloe in the foreground is a yellow A. cameronii — the iron stand used to be directly overhead of the aloe
Orange cosmos and Agapanthus ‘Storm Cloud’
elongating blooms of Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’
Reader Ed Morrow asked if I feed the succulents. I did just buy some fish emulsion for the annuals in pots like cosmos, but with the succulents I basically stay out of their way. A pot of cuttings of the Ghost Plant, Graptopetalum paraguayense, taken from the clump spilling onto the front garden path
Aeoniums are usually their fattest and happiest winter and spring here, but ‘Copper Penny’ aeonium is one of the exceptions. It’s at its best when stressed by summer (imho)
Aeonium ‘Berry Exciting’ is another one that gets good summer color
Aloe ‘Verity Nice’ — wire trellis is one of the prototypes we’ve been experimenting with for the front garden. The mesh gauge is a little too soft so we’ll upgrade to cattle panel
Succulents are easy here, but not foolproof. Here’s an example of what utter neglect can do — a clump of aloes at my mom’s house left unwatered for months. The trough is the pedestal base of the urn that held the Euphorbia canariensis.
The traumatized aloe will be given mostly shade for now while it gets its footing. The tilly in front of the birdbath is what I’m hoping is T. secunda

Final mage from the garden last night, before heading in around 7 p.m to turn on the whole house fan, to draw in the cool evening air and vent out the heat.

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4 Responses to garden notes 7/12/20

  1. Kris P says:

    Juggling plants when the sun’s on its high heat setting is always a challenge but everything looks to be hanging on just fine at the moment. I love Agapanthus ‘Storm Cloud’. For some reason, I was compelled to buy some Agapanthus bulbs a couple of years ago, the first of which is about to bloom, but if I was going to add Agapanthus in a garden already packed with them, I don’t know why I didn’t choose ‘Storm Cloud’. I’m impressed by the Eucomis too, a plant that I’ve yet to get to bloom in my own garden.

  2. Your restraint in not adding pots to the back steps earlier is quite unusual I’d say, and you did a great job of keeping them from being a hazard. I love the rhipsalis lands…in fact this whole entire post is full of gorgeousness. Well done!

  3. Elaine says:

    I love the rhipsalis and bromeliads on the viewing platform. Looks cool and tropical. Viewing the garden from higher up makes it seem bigger. I do this from our raised deck sometimes. Gives me a better overall view and I am less distracted by individual plants. Stay cool.

  4. Denise says:

    @Kris, I’m seriously smitten with eucomis now. I’m guessing past failures had to do with my heavy soil since all the literature emphasizes fast drainage. I’ll be ordering more this fall, for sure. Yes, ‘Storm Cloud’ is impresssive — I added a few more gallons recently.
    @Loree, without kids or dogs around, I’m getting a little wild with the pots everywhere!
    @Elaine, I agree that the view from up high is so different from ground level. I really enjoy the multiple viewpoints too.

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